Around the Dot

23 March 2006

More Blues Tubing
I had to stay around to sell some more furniture (table & chairs gone, yee-ah) but had to go out with this great weather.

So I took my acoustic guitar for a session on the lawn of our residence. And I did it again: I recorded some. This has of course been "tubed" here.

The reason for I-Banking
I finally discovered why so many MBAs (at my school or worldwide) want to do investment banking. Thank you, Paul.

How many Blocks?
Before heading once again to LAX to welcome my parents and drive them to their rental car and then to their motel in Santa Monica, I treated myself to a movie.

16 Blocks with Bruce Willis is not an “awesome” movie but it was a nice way to spend 1hr45 despite some easy to guess plot twists because some other you couldn’t see. It’s a good thriller that delivers what it promises, in line with the trailer (I hate pretentious trailers for movies that are worth nothing).

So then I rushed to the airport, waited, waited and waited because the flight was delayed. The wait was also partly my fault: I wanted to make sure to be there when they arrive, so I was there 15 minutes after the expected landing time, which is way too early.

The way back was another airport adventure: I thought taking the 405 and 10 would be faster than the 1 around midnight. That’s certainly true usually, but not when the 405 is closed up to La Tijera…

The Ocean Lodge motel manager had nicely let the key at the (closed) reception so there was no adventure there (relief!). When once installed and having received the little surprises I had for them, my parents (and beloved sister!) were up for their first fast food. At 2am, I drove Santa Monica Blvd hoping to find a decent burger and after a few blocks, we luckily drove by a Carl Jr’s which was still open.

And now it’s 3am, I’m back to camp (I can’t call the place where I live an apartment anymore) and I’m going to sleep. Perhaps counting blocks will help?

22 March 2006

W for Vendetta
My laziness was “obliged” this monday: I only had to walk down the hill on Weyburn Avenue to go to the closest movie theatre in Westwood for “V for Vendetta”.

I don’t want to turn my blog in a movie critique (I would both bore and hate myself) but quickly, let’s state that: The scenario, the plot and the character are great, well found and well thought. The cast is perfect. And blowing up English monuments and places of power is jubilatory even if you don’t share my French citizenship. :) I also loved the parallel with and use of Guy Fawkes. This creates overall a quite coherent story and storyline.

Downsides? I have a problem to locate this in time and put together a chronology of the events ante-plot (for this movie this is a bit bothering and got me to worry a bit too much). [potential spoiler] One other issue is that we don’t know how long the heroin is sequestrated and how badly she is treated. This is an important part of the movie and as a spectator, I was left wondering on this which affects the credibility of the plot. She is shaved on day 1 but then stay shaved. Also, when she is released, she displays perfectly depilated arm pits which is complete nonsense (even if I understand and almost applaud the esthetical aspect of this).

Damn, I have to stop with the downsides, it’s already longer than the other part and I loved the movie. I guess that’s typical: we speak about what could be fixed instead of what’s great and all the more so as we love something. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother and just say it’s crap.

So, V is really a must-see and deserves a W. I’m sure I’ll go see it again with Raquel if she hasn’t seen it before her next trip here.

Warning! Bad joke below – You can stop here. Well I say “Double You”, but it was just me :) Stupid joke I know… I like to go to the movies alone. It almost never happens because I’m very likely to go with my wife and since I arrived I have always found someone to join me. So, I guess a movie on my own is one of these small pleasures in life because it’s so rare for me.

Beach Blues and Tubing
I had a great time playing electric blues on the beach in Santa Monica today. I had taken my camera and decided to record a few instants of this great moment.

I had no “to do” list coming here but if I had one, I could check this line.

Anyway, I thought this was a great opportunity to play with the hot geek toy of the moment: YouTube. It’s funny how I found vSocial unattractive a few months back and how I have comparatively been seduced by YouTube in seconds as a visitor. As a user, I was shocked by how simple and fast this service is. As I already said, I wonder what the business model is but as a direct beneficiary of someone’s madness of giving this for free to all, I say “wow and thank you”.

So here is my playlist for the videos shot this afternoon. I think I might get addicted to “tubing”*.

*: I have not yet read a specific word for “uploading videos online” but I’m sure that’ll be something like that.

And what the heck? Let’s embed it here! So simple.

A Night in the Hills
A few weeks ago, when driving back from Hollywood after Buddy Guy’s show at the House of Blues, Peter and I decided to drive as close as possible to the Hollywood Sign, a stupid objective that only tourists or students can set for themselves.

Based with the only clue that it was somewhere near Mulholland Drive, we ended up touring the Hollywood Hills in search for the sign, hard to see at night because it is not lit anymore. We found it but couldn’t drive as close as we wished. These hills are tricky in the dark without a map. :)

So, I was playing with Google Maps tonight in a vain and desperate attempt to locate a place where I could listen to descent jazz to rescue my evening – ruined by a stubborn doorman who wouldn’t accept anything but a passport as a proof of over-21 identification for foreign patrons. And I found the sign!

Here it is, just for you, from the sky: the Hollywood sign.

21 March 2006

You tube? I tube!
Having just reconverted our living room in a lounge using Peter’s mattress, I am now blogging comfortably sitting next to the window with a view on the bright blue sky.

First thing first, I have updated the “Joshua Tree” story that I originally posted in January and embedded the video in the page thanks to on which some exchange student was kind enough to post it.

By the way, youtube is really getting traction. That’s amazing, especially as there is no advertising on it. I really feel the pain for the other guys in the video hosting game: just have a look through this alexaholic comparison with vSocial for instance.

6am Riff Raff
I just came back from LAX – once again – where I drove Peter, my Australian roommate, for his flight to Chicago, the second step of his short world tour started in LA. It is hard but rewarding to wake at 4:45am, not only for there is less traffic on the 405 but also because this is truly the perfect Californian day and witnessing the sunrise was really comforting. Listening to AC/DC’s “If you want Blood” live album in the car and having a nice walk down Veteran Blvd (Damn, I have never had to park so far) were enough to get me really awake and so I thought “what the heck, let’s blog it, I’m not going back to sleep now anyway”.

Now that Peter is gone, our apartment in the graduate residence is really feeling empty. It was already so since we have been selling our furniture over craigslist over the week-end (contact me if you are looking for a queen bed :).

And so, yes, this is the end of my term at UCLA. It officially ended last night with my ultimate class of Managerial Interpersonal Communication. This end of term has a nostalgic feel for most exchange students, many of whom are reaching the end of their MBA studies with this term. I will have a block week class when I return to London in 3 weeks but I sure share the feeling. There will be more reasons for good times and nostalgia with some partying tonight: our final diner between exchange students. It will have to be a softer version of last week general MBA-end-of-term celebrations – or there will be Johnny Cash tattooed on my liver soon.

Note: Riff Raff is the opening title on “If you want blood”.

19 March 2006

Moving $ale
I decided that Craigslist was not enough for our Moving Sale. So I went a bit crazy to produce this great advertising campaign. That's pure campus marketing with awesome creative visuals, definitely a tough pitch with limited resources: just an old pre-Oscar Variety, two paper sheets...

Have a look for the photo set on Flickr.

Damn, I can't believe it's already been 10 weeks.

Happy Dot Day!
At some point this month, I reached a milestone: my 100th post!

Meanwhile, the English version of my blog was celebrating its first “birthday” – I actually re-launched it March 10, 2005. And is now in its third year.

I had to invite crazy people on this post to celebrate this, right?

So, Happy Dot Day! :)

Fresh Marketing
Marketing and advertising have no limit.

Actually, that's funny nobody came with that idea before, especially as advertising in already there in - at least male - restrooms with different variations (from the metal band sticker to the MBA event flyer).

So, here I give to you, through Springwise, the Coolertising, i.e. advertising space on office water coolers bottles.

Any thought on how refreshing this is? Comment!

Update: are Japanese once again trendsetters?

12 March 2006

Yeti Delicacy
Kiwa Hirsuta, the Yeti LobsterThe Paris National Museum of Natural History has announced the discovery of a new species of crab, the Kiwa Hirsuta, dubbed the “Yeti Crab”, “Yeti Lobster” or “Furry Lobster”.

National Geographic reports that “Scientists found the small, blind crustacean last March during a deep-sea expedition some 900 miles (1,500 kilometers) south of Easter Island, which lies off the coast of Chile”.

The Kiwa Hirsuta (from Kiwa, the goddess of crustaceans in Polynesian mythology and hirsute for its hairy claws) has scientific wondering about its hairiness… Well, I guess it’s maybe cold down there. Or perhaps it’s because there is no beauty parlour in the South Pacific and it can’t get a depilation like more fashionable westernised crabs…

No kidding, there is one question that is left unanswered after a quick search: is it comestible? After all, it was discovered by French, so they must have given it a thought. Apparently, its habitat is toxic and the hair could be used to host bacteria to filter toxic minerals (or some like that), so maybe it’s too toxic to be eaten.

Anyway, it would be nice to know because there is potentially a market, using Japanese restaurants as an outlet and surfing on the momentum Japanese food has gained in the past decade. Kiwa Hirsuta can sound very Japanese, its toxicity makes it potentially very attractive (think Fugu) and it’d be looking good in the middle of a colourful sushi plate: The ultimate trendy delicacy that you can sell at the price of gold – like Parmesan*.

Anyone wanna fund my Yeti Lobster exploitation venture?

*: If I remember correctly, Parmesan is the only cheese for which price has parity with gold… I couldn’t find sources online to back this up.

11 March 2006

Tiki, Tiki Baby?
Just for my wife - who else is reading this blog anyway ;)

Tiki, Tiki, Tiki by the re-imagineering team.

And for the others, let's say that it is a nice case study on how blogs and comments can help a company to get closer to its customers...

Wifi vs. The People
Paul Kedroski builds a case that tech is still too hard taking its inspiration from a Reuters’ article on the high entry barrier to wireless networking at home for the average consumer.

I made an attempt at a funny comment which in fact is kind of sadly reflecting the true reason why I left France (don’t mind the riots, the poor economy outlook and the incompetent politics fighting over next year’s elections):

Wouldn't it be great if your laptop could plug in the network wherever you need and are without you doing anything more than turning it on - the way your mobile phone does?

No WEP, DNS, IP or JTPWYN error (Just to play with your nerves)...

The geek in me would love that. Then I could go back to my home country which I had to leave to escape being the wireless network administrator for my parents and in-laws... ;)

This also made me think that it could be a wise move to adopt a Chinese kid now, to prepare for the day I’ll be too old to get my nuclear computer running Windows FW (for Finally Working – scheduled 2025, released 2027) to connect to my 64 Tera-byte pan-solar-system satellite DSL (Deep Space Line) access.

And now, back to my distribution channel case on Palm introducing the Palm Café in 2003 to showcase its Zire model and get in touch with new consumer segments.

09 March 2006

Always riding the latest trend, PSFK reports that the Pope is really happy with his new toy, an iPod. According to Sky News, the Holy Father joins the Holy Trinity Club of iPod owners: Bush, Blair and Elizabeth II.

I wonder if cardinals got the U2 iPod to match their clothes as the Pope does with a white iPod. Sunday, Holy Sunday. ;)

06 March 2006

Web 3.0 will be ugly
As sad as it makes me, it seems that all the improvements for a nice lightweight so-called web 2.0 (Google maps, Flickr…) will only lead us to an ugly web 3.0 with the big gorilla in the room – or is it the big mammoth – being the infamously ugly myspace.

Why do I say that? Why potentially hurting the feeling of so many graphically-inclined web developers with this prediction? Because this Business Week article argues its ugly look gives myspace a big edge over competition. And because my dear friend Nicolas (who I am urging to start a blog on its own) sent me this. But then maybe he caught a nasty exotic fever during his Asian trip though he has always had a “f*$k design” attitude for all things web-related.

And this comes just as I am about to launch the new (beautiful) design for my site… Should I go with the default font and bright ugly colours instead?

Note: looking at the pictures of the authors of both mentioned entries can hint you about their motivation… Not that they are ugly themselves (I don’t want to be the judge of that) but they sure look like geeks (you know, much more worried about the kilobyte making a site charging faster or that kind of stuff).